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The Knells

by The Knells

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"[The Knells'] lyrics ponder cosmic conditions and cycles — time, space, dissolution, regeneration — and they are sung by three women, often in cascading counterpoint that can invoke Renaissance polyphony or Minimalism. The songs aren't verse-chorus-verse; they sweep ahead, through passages of tolling solo electric guitar, of elegiac vocal melodies and harmonies, of note-bending quasi-Indian strings and guitar, of progressive-rock processionals. The classical training and female harmonies can make the Knells similar to Dirty Projectors, but this band looks toward Europe and tone poems rather than Africa and pop. Instead of hooks there are sustained dramatic arcs, meticulous and serpentine."

—The New York Times

"Finally, an album that Gentle Giant and Sufjan Stevens fans can agree to love: The eponymous debut concept LP by the Knells... mixes its myriad impulses and resources in glorious manner, with three angelic voices floating in harmony over a string-adorned backbeat."

—Time Out New York

"What happens when you mix up a high-octane rock rhythm section with a string quartet and medieval-ish vocal polyphony? The answer is The Knells, a Brooklyn band that won't get much airplay with a new CD that refuses to fit into any station's format. I'm not sure how to label their music, but they call themselves a "post rock, neo-psychedelic chamber prog band." Their debut album is a must for those seeking untamed new musical hybrids."

—The Daily Beast


released November 19, 2013

Nina Berman, soprano
Amanda Gregory, mezzo-soprano
Katya Powder, alto
Paul Orbell, guitar
Andrew McKenna Lee, guitar
Michael McCurdy, drums
Joseph Higgins, bass

with special guests the MIVOS String Quartet:
Olivia De Prato, violin
Joshua Modney, violin
Victor Lowrie, viola
Isabel Castellvi and Mariel Roberts, cello

Recorded, edited, mixed, and produced by Andrew McKenna Lee at Still Sound Audio, Brooklyn, NY

Mastered by Joe Lambert Mastering

Artwork and design by Shepard Fairey


all rights reserved



The Knells New York

photo credit: Scott Friedlander

The Knells are an art rock ensemble from Brooklyn, NY. Drawing inspiration from over 1000 years of western classical music and deftly fusing it with the worlds of progressive, psychedelic, and experimental rock, their music “is a must for those seeking untamed new musical hybrids” (The Daily Beast). ... more

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Track Name: Airlift
Soulless as a tomb —
solace never comes too soon.
Every single one,
fortune sparing none,
heads above water
like crustaceans in a bucket
climbing up the wall.
To try and float above
that moment when gravity leaves us
with no depth further left to fall.
Two dimensional —
like the surface of the earth
at the bottom.

Crack it open,
Crack it open like an egg.

You can sense an ocean,
but you're a ship in a bottle,
or a snow globe locked in a desert,
or a lighthouse without fog,
or a gear without a cog —
or your mind is like a dog
going around in circles,
not knowing whether to lie down,
or to chase his tail into the ground.

Such small ripples
In a large and violent sea of neutrality.
Track Name: Thread
Both time and rivers —
they both flow forever.
One through vale and memory fractured,
the other from the ocean skyward
to fall towards the end of all that is.
Track Name: Fray
Hold on to moments —
you can pause, grasp, gaze, and linger
only to watch as they fall through your fingers
like fine sand and silt
or water

Horizons forever drawn —
then forever gone.
If only we could choose
to make a minute (just a minute) longer
for a second or two seconds maybe more,
we could suspend our flowing fast
while the world goes on and on
in eternal threads and frays.

All knotted chords and entwining coils
of kinetic time — even
if only to begin again —
in the end must first unwind.
Track Name: Distance
Half the distance between us all —
Half is all
that one can hope to travel.

So close, but yet perpetual —
Half is all
that you can ever hope to go.

So close, it may even seem eventual —
But half is all
that you will ever endeavor to move.

Half the distance between us all —
Half is all
that one can hope to travel.

So close, but yet perpetual —
Forever fleeting,
Like the retreating sheen of brine on sand.
Track Name: Syncromesh
Returning ropes of sand to stone,
only to dissolve among
wheels in wheels
of ceaseless spinning motion
under listless deserts,
and with song,
in infinite oceans;
then joining over again
at the inception of another
chronic circle without end,
witnessed by a host of rolling suns.

From the window of an insect eye,
curling far beyond the point of our perception,
outside turns itself around within,
clouding the specter of a dim deception.
Second opportunities are always in supply,
take one to double back around and try,
it's all the same direction.

So it goes —
the finish and beginning
of all we know —
to circle endlessly in spirals all around,
crawling, all around.
Track Name: Seethe
"All in time" —
they say it all takes time
to leave the trouble you've gone through
all behind.

But, after it's gone,
it goes on to blight and blister.
Even now it seethes,
waxing pallors of infection,
while the scab it rips undone.
It's never over — it's never gone.

Time dispels the ones who
in desperation cling to
platitudes they don't see through
all in time.

All in time?
Not so sure.
Track Name: Dissolve
Light decaying and fading,
then braiding in resonant ringing echoes.

Cold careening through an airless black,
and shattering the famished quiet,
Illuminating the violence,
that only compares with its splendor.

Always to dissolve.

All our eyes are drawn towards you.

Always to dissolve.
Track Name: Spiral Knells
One after the other —
Climb and fall
Over and under,
On endless conveyor belt ladders,
Ringing in a spiral knell,
Within a fury of concentric circles.

Surely when you're on top,
You're on bottom.
Or reverse the negative —
View it from the other way around.

Up on an infinite stairway,
Always up,
Never down (down is up),
Never up (up is down),
Always down,
In ouroboroic haste —
Somewhere going nowhere.

Slow circles in search of a flicker,
As louder suns
Reflect in a hall of mirrors —
Open and endless,
Nearness too distant,
As always and a moment.

Everything and nothing
In inviolable and splendid disarray.
Or ordered in mysterious, symmetrical,
And simple kinds of ways.
Each a single, certain, prescient
Contradiction of a present
Furling to unfold.

On and off (and off and on),
And often never (never often)
Just the same.
Endings to beginnings to the end,
And over and under and over again.

All such strong and fragile threads,
Whirling in a bid
To forget and know.

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